There’s something special about playing music for a crowd,
and while Turntable.fm may be closing its doors, Plug.dj is still open and pumping out the tunes, with a vibrant community of listeners and DJs filling rooms packed with music to work to, talk about, rock out listening to, and save or download yourself.
I’ve actually been a user at Plug.dj for a while, but make no mistake, it’s definitely a Turntable.fm clone with a few extra features that helps it stand apart. For example, the service supports YouTube videos, so most of the DJs will play tracks straight from there, as opposed to uploading their own songs or searching a built-in music library. You’ll notice a few other subtle differences too—instead of thumbing songs up or down, you “woot!” or “meh” them, and the view is from the DJ’s perspective looking at the crowd, as opposed to the crowd looking up. Instead of rotating four or five DJs, there’s a waitlist that anyone in the room can join to play a song and then step aside to go back to the end of the line—it gives more people a chance to be DJs.
Aside from that, you won’t notice many significant differences; Plug.dj is a bit snappier, there are more avatars and fun things to do with your character, and definitely a more global audience, since Turntable was US only. To use the service, you have to log in with Twitter, Facebook, or a Google account, but once you do, it’s completely free and easy to use. If you loved Turntable and will miss the experience, want to create a room for you and your friends and rock out, or just want a good alternative that retains the features while adding its own flavor, hit the link below to check it out.
Plug.dj is a curious additioin to the lineup, partially because it’s not technically a streaming service (as in, it doesn’t maintain its own catalog of music to listen to or mobile apps to let you take your music on the go), but rather a huge community of music fans and listeners who love to share and listen to music (including some of us here at Lifehacker.) The service has been around for a while, but really came into its own when Turntable.fm shut down, leaving it a popular copycat of the original service that was suddenly more popular, more feature-rich, and more well liked than the one that closed its doors. Plug.dj supports searching the site’s database of shared music from users, YouTube videos, and other web-based music sources to build playlists, and of course, to play for a crowd in a “room” where users take turns DJing for everyone listening to the stream. Users in the room then vote the songs up or down to show their approval (or lack thereof) and influence the flow of the room in general. Even if you start a room all by yourself just to listen to your favorite songs both from your own computer and from around the web, it’s a great way to pass the time, and if you’d prefer to sit back and listen to someone else DJ, or a collection of rotating songs in a fun and active community environment, you can do that too. The service encourages you to participate though, with virtual costumes and stickers for your avatar. The service has come a long long way from being a Turntable clone though—there are tons of communities and rooms to join, an on-site “currency” you can use to buy costumes and avatars, and a premium account that’s $3/month or $30/year that unlocks all avatars and badges, special status as a paying member (that others can see in chat), and more. This, in addition to real money purchases you can make (usually costumes and avatars), help keep the service afloat. Additionally, plug.dj has always been open to international users, and available to anyone who wants to sign up.
Of course, we have to point out that plug.dj encouraged its users to nominate (and support its nomination in droves) it for the top five here, but putting aside the fact that it’s not a music service in the same vein as the others here, even if they hadn’t, it probably would have gotten the support to make the top five. Even though it’s definitely different, it’s a great way to sit back and listen to music at the push of a button, change rooms or different types of music based on your mood or what you want to hear, or get involved and start searching for tunes and building playlists if you want to. Plus, it’s just fun to use. The community is massive, and it’s not uncommon that you can hop on the site in the middle of the night and find a room packed with people all rocking out to some great music. Popular DJs and other promoters often stop by and host DJ rooms on the site, and the social aspect doesn’t just draw people in, it keeps them connected to the site. Don’t take my word for it though, you can read the absolutely massive nomination thread here to learn more.